XENIA — The City of Xenia is still hoping to hold its biggest event this year.
Despite myriad activities being cancelled around the city, county and Miami Valley, City Manager Brent Merriman said he is not ready to pull the plug on July’s Kevin Sonnycalb Memorial Fireworks Festival, especially since many COVID-19 restrictions are being loosened.
“I think it’s just premature for us to make a decision in early May about something that’s you know a month and a half, two months away,” Merriman told city council during its Thursday meeting. “And given the fact that so much else has been taken away from our community and cancelled in our community, I just think we ought to be very, very cautious about making a big decision to cancel this event.”
The festival draws as many as 10,000 people to the downtown area, and thousands more view the fireworks from other areas around town. In addition to the fireworks, there are food vendors, games and other activities for those who visit Shawnee Park for the festival.
“We think it’s important to the quality of life in our community,” Merriman said. “Its something that our entire community looks forward to. We have such gracious volunteers and funders of this event. We will try whatever we can do to be able to have an event this year. And if we’re going to do it it needs to be a good event and done right.”
Merriman said staff will assess the situation in June and that the city will wait until the “last possible minute” to decide whether to cancel or not. The city has a multi-year contract with Rozzi Fireworks and has a few weeks before a decision needs to be made, according to Xenia Public Relations Coordinator Christina Schaefer.
“But at this point we see no reason to cancel this event,” Merriman said. “We think we should try to have it.”
Merriman also told council that the city is, for the time being, allowing businesses to install temporary signs and tents and will expedite the permitting process to allow them to operate under current state guidelines.
“We’re trying to take an approach where we want to try to support these businesses as much as we can and just relax some of these things temporarily,” Merriman said.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.